Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lagos state government refute plan to ban yellow buses

The Lagos State acting Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Lanrewaju Elegushi, has said there is no plan to ban yellow buses, known as Danfo.

He said they would be upgrades to international standard.

Elegushi said this, yesterday, during a stakeholders’ forum, at the new bus terminal, at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS). The parley was to deliberate on how to improve the transport system in the state. He said plans of the state government was to restructure the transportation system to international standard.

What we are planning is to restructure the transportation system in the state to meet international standard.

“That is why we organised this forum to seek the contributions of the people involved. We are changing the face of the transport system in Lagos state with fully air condition buses, charging port, CCTV and other infrastructure for the benefit of commuters,” he said. Elegushi said the government had also embarked on building of standard bus terminus in various locations across the state, to standardise the transport system. The acting commissioner appealed to the stakeholders to make judicious use of the new bus terminal at TBS.

In his remarks,  Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Idumota branch, Mr. Kunle Azeez, commended the government for building befitting bus terminal for members of the union. He assured the government the union members would obey rules and regulations as well as ensure proper maintenance of the terminal.

“We appreciate the government for carrying us along in its development plan. I am sure our members will not let the government down in its plan to make the state a Mega City,” he said. On February 6, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode announced that the government plans to restructure the operations of Danfo buses for an  efficient, well-structured and world-class mass transport system. According to the governor, a well-structured transport system will ease movement within the state and make Lagos cleaner.

(SUN)

Nigeria court of appeal has stop Gov Akeredolu from sacking LG chairmen and councillors

Akure Division of the Court of Appeal has restrained Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, from removing or sacking chairmen and councillors in the 18 local government areas of the state.

The chairmen and councillors of the councils were sued by the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the administration of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko.

At the resumed hearing of the case, counsel to governor Akeredolu, Mr. Charles Titiloye told the court that his client was not aware of the order of the High Court restraining him from dissolving the councils or of the appeal supposedly filed by him.

Titiloye noted that the state’s solicitor general was in court, to demonstrate how concerned the governor was, over the suit. The solicitor general subsequently rose up to confirm his presence, while the 18 council chairmen and councillors were represented by their counsel, Mr. Olusola Oke.

The governor’s counsel pleaded for adjournment to enable his client study the case, being a lawyer himself.

Governor Akeredolu, according to a hearing notice served on Oke by the state’s Ministry of Justice, had appealed a judgment of the state High Court headed by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olasehinde (now retired) which barred the governor from sacking the council officials elected on the platform of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The chairmen and councillors averred that in line with the 1999 Constitution (as amended), they were elected to serve for a three-year tenure, which will lapse on April 25, 2019. In granting their prayers, Justice Kumuyi observed that “the tenure of an elected councillor or office holder cannot be abridged or determined at the whims or caprices of anyone except the electorate.”

She, therefore, restrained the state government from dissolving, sacking, dethroning, impeaching or however removing the claimants from their respective positions, offices, duties, functions, powers and rights. She thereafter adjourned the suit to June 7, 2017, for hearing.

(SUN)

Nigeria senate praise Dino Melaye for raising motion on fuel subsidy probe

The Senate has given nod for a motion seeking the probe of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over alleged mismanagement of about N5.1 trillion subsidy fund to be formally raised on the floor of the Senate.
In a point of order, Senator Dino Melaye drew the attention of the Senate to the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to probe the NNPC, which he said got 51 out of 100 per cent share of companies okayed to import petroleum products into the country.
Said Melaye: “Surprisingly you (Senate President Bukola Saraki) are one of those who raised the issue of subsidy in the 7th Senate. The Federal Government is prosecuting marketers and these marketers only constitute 49 per cent of imported refined products. The NNPC is responsible for the importation of 51 per cent. 
“While we are prosecuting the independent marketers, whose proceeds from subsidy is about N3.83 trillion, NNPC collected a total of N5.1 trillion on subsidy and this has never been investigated.
“This has never been looked into and we are busy chasing independent marketers. The time to look into the books of NNPC, as regards petroleum subsidy, is now. 
“We have taken the lead in the fight against corruption in this chamber and I want to say we must do everything within our powers to investigate and bring whoever is found wanting to book.”
Saraki gave nod to Melaye’s plea, as he sought the permission of the chamber to sponsor a motion.
“Thank you Senator Melaye for that radical performance. We expect this motion tomorrow (today) and it is a very serious issue. It goes to the core of the fight against corruption and also the issue of the NNPC, which is a great source of revenue for all of us. We will wait for that motion.”

(SUN)

Amaju Pinnick get Nigeria government support for CAF president

There was a dramatic turn of events yesterday in Abuja as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the Youth and Sports Ministry stamped the candidature of NFF President Amaju Pinnick for a seat on the Executive Committee of Confederation of African Football, at the polls scheduled for next month’s Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
At a meeting convened by Youth and Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung in Abuja on Tuesday, Pinnick and members of his Executive Committee briefed him, and at the end, Barrister Dalung said the Government of Nigeria has given its blessing to Pinnick’s quest and will fully support him.
With regards to the CAF presidential election also coming up at the same Congress in Addis Ababa, the gathering advised, just as the NFF Executive Committee had done in its meeting of Tuesday, 7th February 2017, that the NFF boss should use his discretion to vote for the candidate who will best serve Nigeria’s footballing interest. It was agreed that the interest of Nigeria should be paramount in all calculations.
Incumbent CAF supremo Issa Hayatou, the former 400m and 800m champion of Cameroon and who has been in office since 1988, is being challenged by Mr. Ahmad Ahmad, president of the Madagascar Football Federation.
The meeting also resolved that other stakeholders in Nigerian Football who have suggestions/advice/recommendations should tender same through the NFF and not in the media.
The coast is thus clear for Pinnick, vice president of WAFU B, a member of the Organizing Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations and member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions, to challenge Beninoise Anjorin Moucharafou for a seat in the supreme club for football administration in Africa, at the 39th Ordinary Congress of CAF in Addis Ababa on Thursday, 16thMarch 2017.
Only two Nigerians – Etubom Oyo Orok Oyo (of blessed memory) and Dr. Amos Adamu – have sat on the CAF Executive Committee in the body’s 60 years of existence. An attempt by former NFF President Aminu Maigari to join the club in 2013 ended belly up.

(SUN)

Chinedu Udoji promise to score more goals for Kano Pillars

Chinedu Udoji is pleased to have scored his first goal for Kano Pillars in their 1-0 victory over Katsina United in Sunday’s Nigeria Professional Football League encounter at the Sani Abacha Stadium.

The former Enyimba international captain scored the only goal that gave coach Kadiri Ikhana all three points after connecting with Rabiu Ali’s cross in the 27th minute, and he has he vowed to score more goals for the Kano-based side.

Udoji, who helped the Elephants of Aba clinch their seventh NPFL title last two seasons reunited with his former coach at the Kano-based club at the end of the 2015/16 league season.

“I actually started my professional career in Kano so it is a dream come true to play for Pillars,” Udoji told NPFL website.

“I am happy to score my first goal for Pillars today. We know our target this season. I hope to score more goals and help the club.”

Kano Pillars will travel to Sagamu for their next game against Remo Stars FC.

News: CBN to sells $180 million forex to boost liquidity

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday released additional $180 million to the forex market to further ease business transactions in the country.

The intervention was done in two phases – an $80 million offer for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), school fees and medicals at the inter-bank market and $100 million Wholesale Forwards Market sell, which by the new policy, is reduced to maximum of 60-day tenor.

The CBN Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, said that the latest moves were part of the bank’s pledge and determination to increase liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

Only last week, the apex bank had pumped $500 million into the market, which impacted positively on the value of the naira against major currencies of the world, particularly the United States dollar, which fell against the naira from N520 to N466 to $1.

The efforts by the CBN in making available large amount of forex to the market has led to the appreciation of the naira by over N85 in less than one week. There are fears in the market that the local currency may well be on a permanent journey to its natural value put by some analysts at less than N300 to the dollar.

The CBN had maintained that much of the dollar demand had been a bubble created by speculators and hoarders of the greenback. On a radio programme, the apex bank had warned market players and keepers of dollars to make hay and sell their holdings to avoid heavy losses.

Meanwhile, analysts, although raising fears of sustainability of the market intervention, have admitted that the new policy direction is gradually bringing sanity into the forex market, as well as strengthening naira’s value.

Nigeria government will diversify economy through Made-in-Nigeria goods — Minister of Information

As part of the plan to diversify the economy, the Federal Government of Nigeria has pledged to focus on local production of goods and services.

The Federal Government has, also, apologised to the people of South East over the destruction of crops and farmlands by herdsmen in the area and assured that permanent solution is being worked out to stop the menace.

Revealing this in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, during a Town Hall meeting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said government would achieve this through the promotion of made-in-Nigeria goods.

The Minister said the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari last year was aimed at “achieving a Paradigm shift in the way we do things,” and revealed that there would be a review of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act to promote local goods and services.

He said a major way of encouraging growth and development as well as boosting the nation’s economy was by helping the small businesses to blossom.

The Minister said the launch of the Clinic in Aba, last January, was  a befitting tribute to “Abia’s trail-blazing efforts at nurturing MSMEs.”

On the plan to review the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Act, he said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has already approved measures to sensitise Nigerians to patronise such products.

On the ease of doing business, the Minister said the Federal Government has approved the opening of additional 28 offices for issuance of residence permits in Nigeria for foreign investors.

In apologizing to the South East, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh said he was a victim of herdsmen when they invaded and destroyed his farm crops .

Ogbeh said the federal government is seriously working out modalities to end the menace of the herdsmen who, he said, have no right to carry about AK 47 rifles.

Nigeria SouthEast governors has agree on security, economic integration

The Southeast governors have pledged collaboration in tackling security challenges and boost the economy of the zone.

The Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi who is also Chairman of the South-East Governors forum made this known at a news briefing on the outcome of the meeting that led to his appointment as the Chairman of the held at Government House Enugu.

Governor Umahi emphasised the the need for synergy among the states to counter the threat of armed robbery and kidnapping raging in the zone.

Chief Umahi further stated that the meeting afforded them the opportunity to deliberate on the need for economic integration to enable the state's tap into the resources available in the area for the benefit of the people.

Governor Umahi said the forum also endorsed the Leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, led by Chief Nnia Nwodo who paid visit to the fora, and called on Ndigbo to do same for cultural integration and well-being of Southeast.

Malabu oil block forfeiture: Shell, Agip, others know fate March 13

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has reserved ruling until the 13th of March 2017 to decide on two separate applications filed by Shell and Agip Oil exploration, seeking to set aside an order of forteiture granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in respect of oil prospeeting license, 245.

The two oil giants earlier urged the presiding Judge, Justice John Tsoho, to set aside the order he granted the EFCC on January the 26th 2017 on the ground that the Chairman of the Commission who is the applicant in the experte motion, was not in the proper position to file the case.

Counsel to the Shell Petroleum, Professor Kanyinsola Ajayi, told the court that the EFCC Chairman was wrong in instituting the experte motion that led to the order of forfeiture in his capacity as the Chairman of the Commission.

However, Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, told the court to dismiss the two applications, noting that the experte  motion was instituted by the Commission Chairman in line with section 44 of the 1999 constitution.

Mr Ojogbane maintained that would amount to a disservice to federal government and Nigerians to vacate the temporary order in respect of the  oil license because of the element of criminality involved.

Kwara state Assembly summoned MTN over alleged wrong installation

The Kwara House of Assembly on Monday summoned the management of MTN Nigeria over alleged “wrong installation’’ of mast at Budo Egba area of Ilorin. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summon was sequel to a complaint a resident filed before the House Committee on Public Petitions.
The committee’s chairman, Alhaji Adeayo Mohammed, said that the petition was filed by Chief Oladele Olanrewaju, through his counsel, Mr Teju Oguntoye. According to him the petitioner claimed that the installation of the mast was causing environmental hazard to residents. Mohammed said the committee would investigate the matter thoroughly and directed MTN management in the state and other stakeholders to appear before the committee on March 3.

Nigeria: PDP win all the Local Government chairman seats in Taraba state

The Nigeria Peoples Democratic Party PDP has won fifteen out from sixteen Local Government Chairmanship seats in the last Saturdays council election in Taraba State.

The Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission, Dr. Philip Duwe, announced this while briefing newsmen in Jalingo.

Dr. Duwe admitted that the election was not perfect since there were alot of flaws, but assured that the Commission have learnt it lesson and would also commended the high ethical and professional standard displayed by journalists throughout the election period.

Radio Nigeria Correspondent reports that the election was postponed in Ibi Local Government after  violence broke out before the election.

Motorcyclist, danfo drivers beg police to release impounded vehicles in Lagos

These men, after allegedly breaking traffic rules, had their vehicles impounded.

Police on Monday shared a photo of the men begging officers to release the buses and motorcycles.

USA: We all need answers" on the extent of contact between President Donald Trump's team and the Russian government - George W. Bush

The former President George W. Bush said Monday "we all need answers" on the extent of contact between President Donald Trump's team and the Russian government, and didn't rule out the idea that a special prosecutor could be necessary to lead an investigation.

The Republican also defended the media's role in keeping world leaders in check, noting that "power can be addictive," and warned against immigration policies that could alienate Muslims.

"I am for an immigration policy that's welcoming and upholds the law," Bush told NBC's "Today" show.

Bush's comments came after a prominent Republican in Congress, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and was in touch with Trump's top advisers during the campaign.

Bush said he would trust Senate Intelligence panel Chairman Richard Burr to decide if a special prosecutor is necessary.

But, Bush added, "I think we all need answers ... I'm not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered."

The former president, who is promoting a book of his paintings of wounded veterans, also took issue with Trump's characterization of the media as an "enemy of the people." Bush said the U.S. won't be able to convince authoritarian governments, including Russia, to open up their governments to media scrutiny if U.S. leaders try to discredit their own press.

"We need an independent media to hold people like me to account," Bush said. "Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere."

On the issue of immigration and Trump's recent attempt to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, Bush warned that if the U.S. freezes out other countries and turns inward, that would only make it more difficult to fight the Islamic State group and other foreign extremists.

"I think it's very hard to fight the war on terrorism if we're in retreat," he said.

(ABC NEWS)

Edo Assembly Speaker “Reportedly” Escapes Assassination

The Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Mr Justin Okonoboh, on Friday evening escaped assassination attempt at Igueben Local Government Area of the state.

Okonoboh (APC Igueben constituency), while speaking with newsmen in Benin on Saturday, thanked his backup driver for shading him from the assassins.

He said, “On my way back from my constituency at about 5.00 p.m. on Friday where I went to settle some land issues, my aide in the escort van called me from his phone that we should be on the alert that a Toyota Camry was chasing us.

“When we looked back, the car was behind my back up Hilux van. The Camry wanted to overtake the Hilux to block me but the driver did not allow them.

“The Toyota Camry struggled with the Hilux for about five kilometres and they almost crashed but did not give up.

“The policemen inside the Hilux van fired a shot into the air to scare them but that did not deter them as they kept chasing us.

“It happened around Ugbegun-Nebudin-Ujogba Road, it was when we got to the Benin-Auchi expressway they waved their hands to give us a warning.

“I do not know whether they are armed robbers or kidnappers but I know that only assassins will behave the way the men did.

“My security aides inside the Hilux said the men were armed.

“I have enough security aides attached to me but the challenge is that there are no vehicles to convey them when I am travelling,” he explained.

The Speaker said he had reported the matter to the Commissioner of Police.

(NAN)

Commercial sex workers clash in Abuja, Nigeria

The police on Monday arraigned three commercial sex workers in a Karmo Grade 1 Area Court in Abuja for attacking and causing grievous hurt on colleagues.

The defendants, Helen Gabriel, Joy Johnson and Ene Ahmed, all reside at Jabi Masallachi, Abuja, and are standing trial on two-count.

The prosecutor, Zannah Dalhatu, told the court that Joy Opera and three others of same address with the defendants reported the matter at the Utako Police Station, Abuja, on Feb. 21.

Dalhatu said on that date, the complainant reported that the defendants formed a common intention and attacked her and her colleagues at Eden Garden, Utako, Abuja, and inflicted serious injuries on their bodies with razor blades.

He said the attack was “due to a little misunderstanding over a customer.”

He added that the complainants were taken to Wuse General Hospital, Abuja, for treatment.

The prosecutor noted that “the first defendant was the one who used the razor blade on the girls, while the second and third defendant were her girls.”

He said the offence contravened sections 79 and 248 of the Penal Code.

The first defendant pleaded guilty to the charges, while the second and third defendants pleaded not.

Cynthia Nnamdi, Counsel to the second and third defendants, applied for their bail and assured that they would not jump.

The judge, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, granted bail to the second and third defendants in the sum of N30,000 and one surety each in like sum.

Sadiq, however, ordered that the first defendant be remanded in prison until the complainant was discharged from hospital and adjourned the case until March 7 for further hearing.

(NAN)

INEC report that 25 of its staff members were hospitalised due to Saturday’s supplementary election held in Etche, Rivers State

Nigeria Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said that more than 25 of its staff members were hospitalised due to Saturday’s supplementary election held in Etche, Rivers State.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Elder Aniedi Ikoiwak, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that the victims were attacked and wounded by Rivers people.

According to him, one of the victims regained consciousness on Sunday.

”This is one area that Nigerians should ask questions: over 25 INEC staff members are in hospital today because the people of Rivers State decided to either kill or wound them.

”They were all beaten up because they went to those villages to conduct an election.

”Let the people of Rivers State tell us the offence of any of them.

”What did they do? They were bringing materials for the election; they decided to descend on them, beat them up, collect their personal belongings and run away,” he said.

Ikoiwak noted that the victims were on official duties and needed a peaceful environment to achieve success.

He called on Nigerians to condemn the alleged attack.

“It is very sad. None of them was beaten up in his home but where they went to conduct an election.

”Why shouldn’t Nigerians discuss that? Why should people sent to conduct an election be beaten up and their belongings taken away from them?” he asked.

NAN reports that about 700 staff members of the commission were mobilised for the supplementary legislative election in Etche.

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) had withdrawn from assisting INEC in the election due to security issues.

(NAN)

Nigeria government evacuate 41 of its girls from Mali

The federal government yesterday evacuated 41 Nigerian girls who are victims of human trafficking from Bamako Mali.

The evacuation was a collaboration of the Ministry of Defence/Nigeria Air Force (NAF), the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP).

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa said the evacuation of the girls followed a distress call.

Also six suspects were arrested in connection with the trafficking of the girls. They were handed over to the appropriate security agency for prosecution.

Dabiri-Erewa said following the distress call received from Mali, her office informed the Ministry of Defence which provided the plane to evacuate the girls.

She said the 41 girls were victims of trafficking by some “big Madams” who were among the suspects arrested.

Some of the scantily dressed girls were covering their faces as they alighted from the aircraft.

NAPTIP Zonal Commander for South West, Mr. Joseph Famakin said the agency would rehabilitate the girls.

(DailyTrust)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Famine-hit South Sudanese eat weeds, water lilies to survive - World Food Program

Thousands of South Sudanese families caught up in famine eat weeds and water lilies to survive, according to George Fominyen, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP).

He said “what we’ve seen is a lot of people coming from the islands.

“They have been living on water lilies, they have been living on roots, from weeds in the Nile, at most they eat once in a day.”

County commissioner Majiel Nhial also said when villagers received food aid in 2016, they were attacked.

He added that “men in uniform looted and burnt homes.

“We lost all our properties, cows and our houses were looted. We were attacked, women were raped and girls abducted.”

Last week, the United Nations declared that parts of South Sudan were experiencing famine.

It stated that some 5.5 million people, nearly half the population, would not have reliable source of food by July, noting that the disaster wasmlargely man-made.

Oil-rich South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, plunged into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir fired his Deputy, Reik Machar.

Since then, fighting has split the country along ethnic lines, inflation topped 800 per cent in 2016 , while war and drought paralysed agriculture.

The women were among a crowd of 20,000 people that emerged from the swamps and assembled at the rebel-held village of Thonyor, in Leer county, when they heard the United Nations was registering people for emergency rations.

Some families received fishing nets and rods from aid workers to keep them going until food arrived.

It was UN first trip to Thonyor in a year.

Many parts of the country awere inaccessible due to fighting, while others were just very remote South Sudan, the size of Texas, only 200 km (120 miles) of paved roads, nearly six years after independence from neighbouring Sudan.

Meanwhile, Sara Dit and her 10 children were hiding from marauding gunmen in the swamps and islands of the river Nile.

The refuge has a steep price: families cannot farm crops or earn money to buy food.

They eat water lily roots and occasionally fish.

Dit said her family had not eaten for days.

(Reuters/NAN)

Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated - Donald Trump

Looking his first prime-time address to Congress, President Trump said Monday he will highlight plans to increase defense and law enforcement spending, authorize more infrastructure projects, reduce taxes and regulations, and cut other types of government programs.

This budget will be a public safety and national security budget" and a "very big part of (Tuesday) night's speech," Trump told a group of governors attending a White House meeting.

In touting a proposed defense budget hike of up to 10%, Trump spoke repeatedly about the U.S. ability to wage war.

When he was in high school and college, the 70-year-old president told the governors, "everybody used to say we never lost a war ... You remember?" And now, Trump added, "we never win a war; we never win. And we don't fight to win ... So we either got to win or don't fight it at all."
Trump did not specifically refer to American military experiences in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq, but he did denounce "almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East."

The military build-up proposal will send "a message to the world, in these dangerous times, of American strength, security and resolve," Trump said.

Trump also told the governors that he wants to develop a still-to-be defined alternative to former president Barack Obama's health care plan before he asks Congress to take up a tax cut.

"Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated," Trump said. "And statutorily and for budget purposes, as you know, we have to do health care before we do the tax cut."
The president spoke just hours before aides issued budget guidance calling for a $54 billion increase in defense spending and corresponding (and mostly unidentified) reductions in other government departments.

Discussion of these plans — including tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks, and replacement of the Obama health care plan — are expected to take up much of Trump's congressional address Tuesday night.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the theme of the speech will be "renewal of the American spirit," with an emphasis on promoting jobs and education, and working with Congress on the agenda involving tax cuts, health care, veterans benefits, and defense spending. "The president," Spicer said, "will address the Americans who have been waiting for help from their leaders for too long and let them know that help is finally on the way."

Democrats and other critics are already lining up against Trump's plans, saying his proposed defense hikes and tax cuts will wind up starving important programs devoted to the middle class.

Former Kentucky governor Steve Beshear, who will deliver the formal Democratic response to Trump's speech, said the president who has proposed a border wall and a travel ban from Muslim countries is not spending enough time on priorities like jobs, education and health care.

"Real leaders don't spread derision and division — they build partnerships and offer solutions instead of ideology and blame," Beshear said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump and the Republican Party as a whole are devoted to "helping wealthy and special interests while putting further burdens on the middle class and those struggling to get there.”

In his speech to the governors, Trump said he would issue more specific budget plans in March.

Domestically, Trump said the nation has to build new and improved roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports: "We're e going to start spending on infrastructure — big."

(USANEWS)

USA senate confirms billionaire investor as Commerce secretary

The Senate on Monday confirmed billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary as President Donald Trump adds to his economic team.

Breaking with Republican orthodoxy, Ross said the Trump administration will work quickly to re-do the North American Free Trade Agreement. That's the massive trade pact with Canada and Mexico that has boosted trade but still stings laid-off workers across the Midwest.

Senators from both political parties were deferential to Ross at his nearly four-hour confirmation hearing, which was much more subdued than the confirmation hearings of other Trump nominees. Former commerce secretaries have praised him, including one who served under former President Barack Obama.

"Mr. Ross will bring decades of business, entrepreneurial and civic experience to this important position," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Commerce Committee. "I believe his extensive management experience in the private sector, and his understanding of the challenges faced by workers and businesses alike, will equip him well for the job of leading the Department of Commerce."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts criticized Ross' business ties to Russia and the way he ran a mortgage lender during the housing crisis.
Mr. Ross has extensive ties to Russia.

He plans to keep making money from his major oil shipping companies while working as Commerce Secretary. He's made billions off the backs of struggling home owners," Warren said Monday. "He is practically a cartoon stereotype of a Wall Street fat cat."

As part of his ethics agreement, Ross is giving up his position at Diamond S. Shipping, but he will retain a stake in the company, which ships petroleum and other products. As part of the agreement, Ross has promised not to take any action as commerce secretary that would benefit any company in which he has a financial interest.

At his confirmation hearing, Ross was not asked about business ties to Russia or his work as a mortgage lender, and he did not address the issues. Senators did note that Ross is divesting from much of his business empire.

Worth an estimated $2.9 billion, Ross has extensive business ties around the globe. In 2000, he founded WL Ross & Co., a private equity firm. As part of his ethics agreement, Ross will divest from the firm.

The Senate has confirmed 15 out of 22 Trump Cabinet or Cabinet-level picks requiring confirmation. Senators also were expected to move forward on Trump's nomination of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to lead the Interior Department. If Zinke clears a procedural vote set for late Monday a final vote on confirmation could occur on Tuesday or Wednesday.

During the presidential campaign, Trump criticized U.S. trade deals, including NAFTA. Trump's stance on trade is at odds with many Republicans in Congress, but it endeared him to some voters in the Midwest who believe trade deals cost American jobs.

NAFTA was negotiated and signed by President Bill Clinton, with broad support among Republicans in Congress.

Ross said all free trade agreements should be systematically re-opened every few years to make sure they are working in the best interests of the U.S.

Ross said he is pro-free trade but noted his close relationship with the United Steelworkers union as proof that he will fight to protect American jobs. The union has endorsed him.

The commerce secretary has several roles in promoting American business interests in the U.S. and abroad. The department handles trade issues, working to attract foreign investment to the U.S. The department also oversees agencies that manage fisheries, weather forecasting and the Census Bureau, which will conduct a count in 2020.

Ross said he has experience at that agency; he was a census-taker while he attended business school.

(USAnews)

Delta state: Sapele residents shut down Warri-Benin highway over electricity

The angry residents protesting lack of electricity at Sapele, Sapele Local Government Area, Delta State, weekend, laid siege to the Warri-Benin City highway, leaving motorists and travellers stranded for over two hours.
The protesters, clutching different banners and placards with inscriptions such as, “NIPP, show us our MoU and power our step down”, “We are tired of darkness” and “No light, no pay,” accused the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC of being inimical to the economic development of Sapele and its environs. Paramount in the demands of the protesters is the provision of electricity supply for an average of 12 hours daily and a step- down power plant from one of the two generating power stations at Ogorode, Sapele, which plays host to two power generating stations and a transmission company.  One of the leaders of the protesters, Mr. Solomon Abeke, who described the protest as the only solution left for the people of Sapele, said that officials of BEDC have practically refused to listen to their complaints.
What we are demanding is an improvement in electricity supply. Just imagine, they give us only three hours light every day. We have two generating stations and a transmission station here in Sapele, yet we live in perpetual darkness,” Mr Abeke stated. A rights activist, who participated in the protest, Mike Egbune, described the actions of BEDC as oppressive, stressing that “the residents of the town carried out the protest because they have been cheated for long and they want their rights back.” Denying the allegations of the protesters, the company’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Adekunle Tayo, said: “That is not true, we held a meeting chaired by the   Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon Monday Igbuya,   and in that meeting, it was agreed that a committee will be set up to look into their demands.”

VANGUARD

The worst days for Nigeria over – OPEC

The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Mr. Mohammed Barkindo, yesterday, disclosed that the worst days for Nigeria due to the low price of crude oil were over.
He said Nigeria’s ability to weather the storms of the low price of crude oil was a miracle.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Barkindo said confidence was returning to the Nigerian petroleum industry, due largely to the major macro-economic decisions taken last year by OPEC and non-OPEC member countries. He said: “We have gone through the worst energy cycle in recent memory. Some of us, who have been around for a quite a while, have witnessed all these five cycles and it is a consensus in terms of the gravity of these cycles, prices have crashed by over 80 per cent from the fall of 2014 to January 2016. “How you survived as a government as an institution under this great industry remains a miracle. I have visited all other countries and I have seen how they are struggling. “But you have weathered the storm. I think the worst is behind us, thanks to your (Nigeria’s) leadership in the run up to the historic agreement of last year, beginning with the Algiers Accord on September 20.” Barkindo commended the giant strides the country has made within this troubling period in the global petroleum industry. “I have been visiting many countries over this period, and I have seen firsthand how they have been struggling. However, here, I think probably we have not sold our achievements effectively, widely and efficiently,” he noted.

Osinbajo unveils Nigeria’s $20 billion Gas Industrial Park

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has unveiled a public-private partnership industrial plan valued at $20 billion dollar for development of gas-based industries in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.

Tagged the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, GRIP, Mr. Osinbajo, according to his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, disclosed the industrialization plan at the State House, Abuja on Monday when he met with the project development partners, a consortium of “Fortune 500 companies like the GSE&C of South Korea, the China Development Bank, Power China and several others global operators from Asia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle-East.”

GRIP is located at Ogidigben, Delta State, and envisaged to be a regional hub for all gas-based industries, Mr. Osinbajo said. He added that it sits on 2700 hectares with fertilizer, methanol, petrochemicals, & aluminium plants located in the park that has already been designated as a Tax Free Zone by the FG.

Under the plan presented today by the consortium to the Acting President, about $20 billion would be invested to develop the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, and generating 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in the process.

“The industrial park would be a cluster for several industries in one location benefiting from an efficient, cost-competitive and abundant supply of natural gas, proximity to a deep sea port and centralized utilities, & services such as uninterrupted power, world class telecommunications and processed water.

“The park, originally conceived by NNPC, is located about 60km from Warri, and is about 1km away from the operational base of Chevron Nigeria Limited. It will be connected to over 18 trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves in fields such as Odidi, Okan, Forcados, located within a 50km radius. It is equally planned that the park will be connected to Nigeria’s most dominant gas pipeline network-ELPS, enabling supply of gas to and from the park,” the office further explained.

Mr. Osinbajo was quoted as saying: “we already have a Steering Committee in place, chaired by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and that shows the level of our commitment. We are unwavering.

“We take the project very seriously and glad to see you are committed and ready to make several other commitments. This is a process that we intend to see happen.

was said to have stressed the Buhari Administration’s “unwavering commitment” to the Niger Delta region, many parts of which the acting president just visited as part of the administration’s bid to engage the volatile oil-producing region.

He said his visits to the Niger Delta communities had been mandated by President Muhammadu who is on extended medical leave in the United Kingdom before he travelled in January.

The building of an industrial gas hub in Ogidigben, Delta State was one of the feedbacks that was received during the visit to the state, he said.

In his remarks at the meeting, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, was quoted as expressing confidence that “the GRIP will bring the much needed succour to the people of the Niger Delta, and the oil-producing states.”

The development partners were led by Mohammed Bayo, a UAE Sheik, who was said to have expressed commitment to the project. NNPC boss, Maikanti Baru, was also said to be at the meeting.

PREMIUM TIMES

President Trump’s Navy secretary, Mr Philip Bilden withdraws

Mr Philip Bilden, President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the Navy withdrew from consideration on Sunday, the second time a Trump nominee to lead one of the armed services bowed out because of government conflict-of-interest rules.

Trump last month nominated  Bilden, a private equity executive and former military intelligence officer, to lead the Navy, which the president has pledged he will expand.

In a statement on Sunday, Bilden said that “after an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests.”

The development leaves Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis without nominees to head both the Navy and Army.

Vincent Viola, whom the president had picked to be secretary of the Army, withdrew earlier this month.

In a statement, Mattis said he was disappointed but understood Bilden’s decision.

“In the coming days I will make a recommendation to President Trump for a leader who can guide our Navy and Marine Corps team as we execute the president’s vision to rebuild our military,” he said.

VANGUARD

Nigerians in CAF root for Hayatou

The Nigerians in CAF have kicked against Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick’s support for Mr Ahmad of Madagascar in the forthcoming CAF elections.
In a release signed by nine Nigerians holding different offices in CAF: General Dominic Oneya,  Dr Amos Adamu, Amanze Uchegbulam, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Aminu Maigari, Dr Bolaji Ojo-Oba, Paul Bassey, Aisha Falode and Barrister Chris Green, they protested that no Nigerian member of CAF has been consulted nor informed out of courtesy about the ambitions of the NFF President.
We do not remember Mr Ahmad visiting Nigeria to solicit or canvass for votes nor do we have any record of Mr Ahmad’s pedigree in the running of football in Africa that would have led Mr Pinnick to dangerously throw all of Nigeria’s eggs in his basket.  We stand dangerously threatened.
The same cannot be said of CAF President Issa Hayatou, FIFA Senior Vice President, who overtime has been a pillar of support and true friend of Nigerian football and whose service to the round leather game cannot be disputed given the giant strides that football in the continent has taken especially in the areas of sponsorship and partnership, and the spread of the game to all nooks and corners of the continent.

VANGUARD

Ibrahimovic wins first trophy for Mourinho at Manchester United

Man. Umited striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic got two goals and Jesse Lingard got one as Manchester United battled to a 3-2 victory over Southampton to win the EFL Cup on Sunday inside the Wembley Stadium.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard gave the Red Devils a 2-0 lead but Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace levelled scores for Southampton. United had the last laugh as Ibrahimovic headed in the winner with just three minutes left on the clock.

Sunday’s feat gives Mourinho his first piece of silverware with the Red Devils and he will be hoping for more as the season progresses.

United are outsiders for the Premier League title but they are still in contention in both the Europa League where they are in the Round of 16 as well as in the FA Cup where they are already in the quarter finals.

Nigerian insurance market bigger than South Africa’s – Old Mutual Insurance

The Old Mutual Insurance has disclosed that the Nigerian insurance market is far bigger than the South African and Ghanaian insurance markets.
Speaking in an interview in Abuja, during the relocation to a new office space in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mr. Zomunoda Chizura, Chief Executive Officer, Old Mutual West Africa, also stated that the company, which is less than four years in the Nigerian market, had put strategy in place to ensure that it ranks among the top five insurance companies in Nigeria within the next five years.
Chizura noted that though the company was yet to record significant returns on its investment, it is hopeful, especially with the size and potential of the Nigerian insurance market and the fact that the Nigerian market is bigger than the South African market.
He said, “The returns, though we have not yet gotten them, but we are long term. We see a massive potential. The population in Nigeria is big; the insurance penetration is big; they are 70 million formally employed people in Nigeria.
“It is bigger than any of the markets that we have presence in Africa. It is bigger than Ghana and bigger than South Africa. In South Africa, the entire population is 50 million, but in Nigeria, the people that are employed are 70 million, so it is a very exciting market for us.
“Our plan is to grow massively. Right now, we are sort of maybe at the bottom of the middle, in the next five years, we want to be among the top five in the market. Definitely, that is where are going to be.”

VANGUARD

Court sacks Nigerian Senator, demands refund of all emoluments

A Nigeria federal high court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has sacked the senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial district, Bassey Akpan, from the Nigerian Senate.
The court in a judgment delivered on Monday ruled that Bassey Etim ( also known as BAFIL), and not Mr. Akpan, was the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 senatorial election in the state.
The court said Mr. Akpan vied for the PDP governorship ticket in the state, and not for the party’s senate ticket.
The court ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should immediately issue a certificate of return to Mr. Etim, a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, and that the senate should swear him in as the senator representing the district.
The court gave Mr. Akpan 90 days to refund all the money he has received as emoluments so far from the national assembly.
Mr. Akpan, a former commissioner for finance during the administration of Godswill Akpabio, is the chairman, Senate Committee on Gas.

News: Nigeria would have disappear if Jonathan remain beyond 2015 - Chief Richard Kpodoh

An elder statesman from Bayelsa State, Chief Richard Perekeme Kpodoh, has declared that Nigeria would have ceased to exist if former President, Goodluck Jonathan had remained in power beyond 2015.

He made the remark while berating the former President for allegedly allowing looting of public funds during his administration.

According to an interview with The Nation, Kpodoh said, “Look at the amount of money that was embezzled. If Jonathan had remained there till today, this country would have ceased to exist.

“The country would have scattered, shattered and battered. Do you know why it seemed as if things were good then? It was a smokescreen.

“Stealing was going on and people were scattering money; they destroyed the value of money because most people were spending proceeds of stealing.

“They were spending their future today and they were living a false life. When you spend money anyhow, you can get some comfort today, but you will suffer tomorrow for a long time especially when the source is no longer buoyant.

Jonathan should just go and sit down because it was a shame. He is a shame to Bayelsa. Look at Bayelsa state where Jonathan came from.

“Where is the federal presence here because east or west, home remains the best? Instead of allowing his home state to at least feel his impact, he and his wife only made all the money.”

(Culled from DailyPost)

Nigerian govt targets 350,000 unemployed graduates in 2017

The Nigeria government, on Sunday said that, its Social Investment Programmes, SIP, had a plan to hire 350,000 more unemployed graduates under the N-Power Volunteer Corps in 2017.
According to the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, President Muhammadu Buhari has requested appropriation of N157.75 billion in the budget for the N-Power scheme.
He said that in addition to the 350,000 unemployed graduates to be hired and trained, 50,000 non-graduate youth would be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures.
He said that from the allocation the administration had earmarked N4.5 billion for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM) programme to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.
Mr. Akande, who welcomed the great public enthusiasm the SIP programmes had so far generated, urged Nigerians to expect more this year especially in the area of implementation.
“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he assured.
Mr. Akande disclosed that about N75 billion was earmarked for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme to provide one meal a day to five million primary school pupils.
He said that in 2016 the feeding programme covered about one million pupils.
Mr. Akande said the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to up to 1.2million market men and women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers was allocated N112.2 billion.
He said: “2017 implementation of the SIP is going to be far more impactful than what we were able to do under the 2016 budget, so Nigerians should expect more this year.
“The resolve of the Buhari presidency is firm that more lives must be touched positively under these programmes which Nigerians have come to appreciate.”
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to actively take advantage of the different schemes this year.

(NAN)

News: It is possible i contest for the office of the president - Bola Tinubu

The former Governor of Lagos State, and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said that he cannot rule out the possibility of running for the office of the president.

Tinubu said this while fielding questions from journalists on Friday.

The former Lagos Governor noted that running for any office in Nigeria was an opportunity to serve his country.

He said, “You see there is nothing wrong with such ambition.

“It depends on the timing and the environment and what political leadership dictates.

“I will not brush aside such an aspiration.

”It has been historical even that Buhari tried first, second, third, and fourth before he got it. Resilience, determination, and clarity of purpose.

“Maybe as a senator, maybe as a president, you cannot rule it out. How can I rule such a thing out, the opportunity to serve my country? But you only do that when there is a vacancy.”

Tinubu added that there was no rift whatsoever amongst APC leaders.

He said, “Everything has always been alright in APC camp. I credit the Nigerian creativity in journalism, they create stories, and if you have to respond to every one of it, you will be in trouble.”

(DailyPost)

Anybody unwilling to support Buhari should kiss Nigeria good bye – Sagay

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), has stated that anyone that is not willing to support the current administration should be ready to ‘kiss Nigeria goodbye.’

According to him, the ongoing anti-corruption war led by President Muhammadu Buhari needed the support of all Nigerians and not unnecessary criticisms.

Speaking with Leadership, the outspoken anti-corruption crusader said that some ‘stupid’ Nigerians who have been fighting against Buhari’s war against corruption should realize that the president was elected to save the country from collapse.

He said, “Nigerians should not tolerate corruption. They should stop saying stupid things like when there was corruption, life was easier.

“There are some stupid Nigerians who talk like that forgetting that at that time oil was $110 per barrel and now its $37, forgetting that at that time the Niger-Delta Avengers did not destroy anything and we are getting 2.7 million barrels a day; now we are getting less than one million. And they are now saying corruption was better.

“Those very stupid Nigerians should realize that this regime that we now have is a regime that has come to save the country.

They should support it strongly for the sake of their own future and that of their children and great grandchildren. If we do not support this government to succeed, we can kiss Nigeria good bye.”

(DailyPost)

NEXIM to help realise Nigeria’s full potentials in shea production

With Nigeria currently reputed as the world’s leading producer of shea nuts, the Nigerian Export Import Bank said it was ready to support the country to recover its lost capacity.
Of the estimated over 680,000 metric tons of shea nuts produced annually in West Africa, Nigeria accounts for over 370,000 metric tonnes, or 53 percent of the capacity, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and Oil Seeds Association of Nigeria.
Shea trees, which grow wildly throughout the country, are predominantly in 21 of the 36 states of the federation.
The central bank said about 56 per cent of the production of shea nuts are exported, and the balance are either consumed locally, smuggled out of the country, resulting in a loss of nearly N345 million every year.
With current global demand for shea butter projected to grow from about $10 billion to more than $30 billion per annum by 2020, acting Managing Director of NEXIM, Bashir Wali, said the bank sees an opportunity to fund investments to boost the country’s production capacity.
“NEXIM is interested in providing funding for increased proactive measures to reposition agricultural products, such as shea, as part of its non-oil export sector interventions in the agro-processing sub-sector,” Mr. Wali said.
Mr. Wali was speaking during the visit of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Banking & Currency to Ladgroup Limited in Ikenne, Ogun State.
Ladgroup is Nigeria’s leading indigenous conglomerate, with a 40,000 metric tons per annum state of the art Oil Mill Extraction factory, the largest shea nuts processing factory in Africa.
With approximately 600,000 tons of shea nuts collected each year, the NEXIM MD said if the industry’s full potentials were realized, it would serve as an important source of jobs and income to the country, particularly millions of poor and under-served communities.
“Available statistics say nearly two billion shea trees grow naturally on park lands in 21 African countries, stretching from Senegal to South Sudan, with more than 16 million women living in rural communities individually collecting the fresh fruits and the kernel they process to extract a healthy vegetable oil known as “shea butter” they sell to earn a living,” Mr. Wali said.
As a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to support the industry to grow, Mr. Wali said NEXIM Bank had in March 2015 approved about $5.8 million to Ladgroup Limited to set up a shea nut processing factory.
The facility, which covered equipment finance ($2.8 million) and working capital ($3million), helped the company to purchase and install a shea butter refining unit, a step down transformer and to augment its working capital base.
The factory is dedicated to sourcing and processing of shea nuts into shea butter for sale to both domestic and export markets.
Ladgroup said its target was on major European importing companies in the confectionary/ chocolate as well as cosmetics/pharmaceutical industries in Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and UK, which have a combined import capacity of over 95,000 metric tons annually.
Besides Ladgroup Limited, NEXIM Bank also provided working capital for Shea butter processing to Karite Oil Limited (formerly Fagow Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited) in Akure, Ondo State, for the 22MT capacity shea butter processing plant.
The MD said NEXIM Bank’s interest in shea nuts processing for export was as a result of the very high demand for shea butter, coupled with the impressive potentials for foreign exchange revenue stream as well as massive job creation opportunity at various levels of its value chain.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee, Jones Onyereri, who acknowledged NEXIM Bank’s contributions to the development of the Nigerian non-oil export sector, said the current economic recession has opened Nigerians’ eyes to the immense opportunities in the country beyond oil and gas, especially in agriculture and solid minerals.
The Chairman of Ladgroup Limited, B. A. Onafowokan, noted NEXIM Bank’s commitment to government’s effort to diversify the country’s revenue base, especially through promotion of export-oriented investments in the non-oil sectors.
He said company planned to create about 300 direct and more than 600 indirect jobs as well as earn about $5million in the first year, and $100million in the next five years.
“In addition to its traditional uses, such as cosmetics, soap, moisturizer, oil, wax, ointments and candles, shea butter is commonly used in the production of cocoa butter equivalents or improvers. About five percent content, by weight, is allowed under European Union regulations in chocolate, other confectionaries and margarine, creating even larger international markets for shea products,” Mr. Onafowokan said.

(PREMIUM TIMES)

Babangida, Danjuma among 20 Nigerian employees richer than Nigeria in 1999 – SERAP round-table

Former head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida and former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Defence under Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma have been identified among 20 Nigerians who later became richer than Nigeria as at 1999 after being employees of Nigeria.
In a round-table discuss, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, held a discussion to chat ways of combating corruption in Nigeria so as to ensure full development of the country.

VANGUARD

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling Make Oscars 2017 More Magical With a Mouseketeer Reunion

The major dose of Disney magic just graced Hollywood's biggest night.

During Sunday evening's 2017 Oscars, fans were treated to a delightful reunion long overdue. Yes, it was time to see Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling together again.

Timberlake opened the ceremony by performing a mashup of his 2016 Trolls soundtrack hit "Can't Stop the Feeling" and Bill Withers' 1977 track "Lovely Day" and stepped into the audience during his set, during which he briefly came face-to-face with his fellow former The All New Mickey Mouse Club member, or Mouseketeer, and put his hand on his shoulder.

Later during the ceremony, Timberlake walked over to Gosling and shook his hand, E! News has learned.

And for those who don't already know, Justin is up for Best Original Song for "Can't Stop the Feeling." As for Ryan, he could walk away with the Best Actor award for his role in La La Land.

(E!News)

News: The Nigerian Navy to establish War College in Akwa Ibom state

Naval Council has approved the establishment of a Naval War College in Akwa Ibom, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has said.
Mr. Dan-Ali, a retired brigadier general, made the disclosure on Sunday at the opening ceremony of the 11th Nigerian Navy Games, tagged, “Uyo 2017”, holding at Godswill Akpabio International stadium, Uyo.
The minister, who was a special guest of honour at the event, said the approval was given based on a request by Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom.
He said that the games would enhance the physical and mental development of the Nigerian armed forces.
“There is no contention that our officers and ratings must maintain physical fitness for operational efficiency.
“Thus service members who are in peak physical condition can contribute more to their teams than members who are in poor physical condition,” the minister said.
He urged the contingents to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship to justify their participation, investment, coaching and mentoring.
Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ette Ibas, said the naval games had been a profitable investment for the force over the years.
Mr. Ibas, a vice admiral, said the naval games were part of the physical fitness regime instituted in the Navy to impact directly on professionalism in the case of small arms firing.
“The objective of the games is hinged on improving the mental and physical wellbeing of personnel for greater operational effectiveness.
“It is indeed the rationale behind the hosting of this year‘s edition of Nigerian Navy games in the face of resource constraint,” Mr. Ibas said.
He said the games would produce future athletes to represent the Nigerian Navy in Armed Forces Games.
He urged the contingents to ensure that they competed unaided by any stimulant and to engage in fair-play and healthy rivalry in their quest for laurels.
Mr. Ibas commended the Akwa Ibom Government for its support toward the hosting the games.
In his remark, Governor Emmanuel commended the Armed Forces for their efforts in internal security, which had helped in the achievement of peace and tranquility in the country.
The governor acknowledged the armed forces for the manner they handled the Boko Haram crisis in the northeast.
The games will feature 17 sports in seven centres in Uyo.
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and the Chief of Air Staff, Abubakar Sadiq, also attended the opening ceremony.

(NAN)

Ryan Gosling Brought His Sister as His Date for the 2017 Oscars!

Who's that girl sitting next to Ryan Gosling?

In case you were wondering about the beautiful, blonde woman hanging out with the La La Land star and his famous friends throughout the night at the 2017 Oscars, let us put the mystery to rest. It's his sister, Mandi Gosling!

The actor's partner Eva Mendes didn't attend the show, but it was no problem because he decided to make it an evening of family bonding at the Academy Awards, where he was also nominated for Best Actor.

Although he didn't pick up the win, Ryan and his sis seemed to have a great time throughout the ceremony, snacking on free goodies, dancing to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" and more.

A memorable night spent with movie's biggest stars? Let's just say it pays to be a sibling plus-one!

(E!News)

Chrissy Teigen Appeared to Fall Asleep at Oscars 2017 and the Internet Went Crazy

Four-plus hours at the 2017 Oscars may have been a bit too much for new mom Chrissy Teigen.

The model and Lip Sync Battle host was caught on camera sleeping on the shoulder of husband and show performer John Legend, with whom she shares 10-month-old baby daughter Luna, while Casey Affleck gave his acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea.

Perhaps she did not find his speech particularly riveting. Or maybe she was experiencing a sugar crash—host Jimmy Kimmel had little parachutes attached to bags of candy, cookies and doughnuts thrown down to the audience during the show.

She was also seen in the same position five minutes later, when they announced Emma Stone as the winner of the Best Actress award, for her role in La La Land.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Selena Gomez Supports The Weeknd at His Concert in Amsterdam

Selena Gomez is showing support for her man!

The 24-year-old singer attended The Weeknd's concert in Amsterdam on the European leg of his tour Friday night, taking to her Instagram story to snap a quick pic from the show.

In the photo, you can see SelGo's high heels as she props her feet up in what appears to be a press box of sorts. Though it's hard to make out anymore of the black and blue photo due to the lights, you can see The Weeknd's face projected on the screen in the background.

(E!NEWS)

Iraqi Kurdish channel Rudaw reporter was killed

A female reporter working for Iraqi Kurdish channel Rudaw was killed Saturday covering the fighting between government forces and the Islamic State group in Mosul, her channel said.

"Prominent Rudaw war reporter and journalist Shifa Gardi has been killed in Mosul as she covered clashes," Rudaw said on social media.

"Journalism remains male-dominated -- Shifa Gardi broke those perceptions and stereotypes -- we pay tribute to her courageous journalism," the channel said.

Rudaw editors told AFP she was killed by an explosive device on a road in west Mosul and said that the cameraman accompanying her was wounded.

He was transferred to Arbil, the nearby capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region where the channel is headquartered.

Iraqi forces entered neighbourhoods of the west bank of Mosul on Friday for the first since the start on October 17 of a huge offensive to retake the city from the Islamic State group.

AFP/France24

My husband penis is too small and irritating - Wife of a geologist

A primary school teacher in one of the public primary schools in Asaba, Delta State, (name withheld) on Thursday asked an Asaba Magistrate Court to separate her and the husband over his “small and unattractive penis.”

Testifying before the court, the teacher who broke down in tears, said, “what pains me most is the way and manners my husband beats me when he cannot satisfy me each time he made love to me. I am full of regrets”.

She added that she had been married to the husband over six years ago without a child.

“I am tired and sick of this man, he cannot perform as a man.

“Instead he will be forming quarrels where he will be using me as punching bags to cover up his weakness.

“The penis is very small and unattractive. We have visited several doctors who said it was normal,” she said during cross-examination by the husband’s lawyer, Austine Ekeroweh.

But her husband (name withheld) a geologist, replied that the estranged wife “is not neat; I have complained severally and she had been adamant.

“She sleeps like log of wood and not romantic. Your Lord ship, I’m also tired, please let her go for me to have my rest”.

The Magistrate, Mr. Frank Enemor, after listening to both parties, ruled that the marriage be dissolved since the couple insisted with cogent reasons and without a child yet.

He further asked the man to pay N20, 000 to the woman as cost of her property he damaged during their quarrels.

(DailyPost)

There are better men to die for and better men to live for" - Tonto Dikeh

Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh, whose marriage to Olakunle Churchill recently crashed based on allegations of infidelity and domestic violence, stated via social media today that there are better men to die or live for, when some fans wrote on her page that they hoped she wasn't suicidal.

(Culled from LindaIkeji'sblog)

French prosecutors open probe into Fillon's embezzlement scandal

French media investigations have found no evidence that Penelope Fillon did any government work. Fillon herself has also denied ever having worked as an aide to her husband.

"I have never been actually his assistant or anything like that,” she told the Telegraph in 2007.

Prosecutors said in a statement that the investigation will focus on whether Fillon embezzled public funds or misappropriated corporate assets.

The prosecutor’s decision to advance the case deals a serious blow to Fillon, whose former status as the favourite to win the April-May presidential elections has plummeted because of the scandal now known as “Penelopegate” after his British wife's first name.

Fillon has denied the allegations. Lawyers for the couple said they had no doubt that their clients would eventually be exonerated.

Rather inauspiciously, the prosecutor’s statement was issued late on Friday just as Fillon was about to take the stage at a Les Républicains campaign rally near Paris.

The latest development means that what began as a preliminary police probe into the allegations has now become an official inquiry. A magistrate has broad powers to investigate, including tapping phones and placing suspects under house arrest.

A judge will later decide whether to drop the case, place suspects under formal investigation or send the case to trial.

It remains unclear if the probe could be concluded before the first round of presidential elections are held on April 23, with a second round to follow on May 7.

Any criminal probe would be suspended if Fillon wins the presidency, however, as French heads of state are immune from prosecution.

(FRANCE24)

USA: FBI to investigates hate crime in America

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking at whether it was a hate crime, the official term for crimes motivated by bias or prejudice.

If convicted of the state murder charges, Purinton faces a life sentence without eligibility for parole for 50 years, Howe said.

Purinton is accused of killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and wounding Alok Madasani, also 32, in Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, on Wednesday evening, police said. At least one bystander told the Kansas City Star the gunman shouted "get out of my country" before shooting the Indian victims.

Purinton is also accused of wounding American Ian Grillot, 24, who was shot as he tried to intervene.

"People call me a hero," Grillot said in a video released by the hospital where he was undergoing treatment for gunshot wounds to the hand and chest. "I was just doing what anyone should have done for any other human being."

Kuchibhotla was married but had no children. His wife, identified by media as Sunayana Dumala, told reporters on Friday that the gunman "has taken a life, a very lovable soul, from everyone."

Kuchibhotla received a master's in electronics from the University of Texas in El Paso in 2007, according to LinkedIn.

The suspect fled on foot and was arrested five hours after the shooting at an Applebee's restaurant in Clinton, Missouri. He reportedly told an employee there he needed a place to hide because he had killed two Middle Eastern men, the Star reported.

Purinton, a former Federal Aviation Administration employee, was transferred back to Kansas on Friday and was being held with bond set at $2 million, according to jail records.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. It was not immediately known whether he had hired a lawyer.

"I don't want people to think of him as a monster or racist man because that's not who he is," Adele Mathews, Purinton's niece, said in a statement released to local media.

Police did not say whether Purinton has faced charges in the past. However, he was not generally known to police in Olathe, a city of 134,000 people about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Kansas City, Sergeant Logan Bonney said Friday.

(France24/Reuter)

A white US Navy veteran has been charged with killing an engineer from India in Kansas

The shooting on Wednesday night led news bulletins in India and triggered outrage on social media, where people voiced concern that US President Donald Trump's "America First" position on immigration and jobs has fueled a climate of intolerance.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday that any loss of life was tragic, but it would be absurd to link the killing to Trump's rhetoric.

Pratik Mathur, spokesman for the Indian embassy in Washington, said India had expressed "our deep concern over the incident" to the US government and requested a "thorough and speedy investigation."

Adam Purinton, 51, was charged on Thursday in Johnson County, Kansas, with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder, District Attorney Stephen Howe told reporters.

He declined to elaborate on the details of the incident or the gunman's motive.

(USAnews)

ICC under threat?

After the election of President Adama Barrow, The Gambia's new government in February asked the UN to halt its process of withdrawal from the ICC.

Burundi has also registered to leave, while Kenya is considering the move.

President Bashir has evaded arrest since his ICC indictment in 2009 for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur conflict in which 300,000 people were killed and two million forced to flee their homes.

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal accused the government of "disgraceful conduct" over Bashir's visit and ruled that the failure to arrest the Sudanese leader was unlawful.

Currently nine out of the ICC's 10 investigations concern African countries, the other being Georgia.

However experts point out that many of the current investigations -- in the Central African Republic, Uganda, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- were referred to the ICC by the governments of those states.

(AFP/FRANCE24 NEWS)

A South African court on Wednesday ruled the government's plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was "unconstitutional"

The ICC has been rocked by threats of withdrawal in recent months, with complaints focusing on its alleged bias against Africa.

South Africa announced in October it had lodged its decision to pull out with the United Nations, following a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visiting the country in 2015.

South African authorities refused to arrest Bashir despite him facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes, saying he had immunity as a head of state.

"The cabinet decision to deliver the notice of withdrawal... without prior parliamentary approval is unconstitutional and invalid," said judge Phineas Mojapelo in the North Gauteng High Court.

The president and ministers "are ordered forthwith to revoke the notice of withdrawal," he added.

The court ruling was a setback for President Jacob Zuma's government, which could appeal.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, which was one of the groups that brought the court case, welcomed the judgement.

"The withdrawal by the South African government from the ICC was irrational and unconstitutional," DA lawmaker James Selfie told AFP.

"We would like South Africa to stay in the ICC because we believe that it is consistent with our constitution and with the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

"The government should go back to the drawing board and reconsider the thing afresh in light of this judgment."

(FRANCE24 News)

We are scared' - South Africa Foreigners

In the last week, more than 20 shops have been targeted in Atteridgeville, outside Pretoria, while residents in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, attacked at least 12 houses.

"We have decided to not to leave the house (during the march)," Alain Bome, a 47-year-old from Democratic Republic of the Congo who has been in South Africa for 14 years, told AFP.

"We know very well there have been attacks. We are scared."

In 2008, South Africa experienced its worst bout of xenophobic violence, which left 62 people dead.

The Nigerian government this week called for the African Union to step in to stop "xenophobic attacks" on its citizens in South Africa, claiming 20 Nigerians were killed last year.

South African authorities dismiss such numbers, saying many violent deaths in the country are due to criminal activity rather than anti-immigrant sentiment.

In 2008, South Africa experienced its worst bout of xenophobic violence, which left 62 people dead.

In 2015, at least seven people died in similar unrest in Johannesburg and the Indian Ocean city of Durban as African immigrants were hunted down and attacked by gangs

(AFP)

South African police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to break up clashes between local protesters and migrants

Many Shops and homes owned by foreigners have been looted and torched in recent weeks, with some South Africans alleging that the properties were brothels and drug dens.

Attacks against foreigners have erupted regularly in recent years, fuelled by South Africa's high unemployment and poverty levels.

Police in Pretoria formed lines to keep apart 500 protesters as tensions rise between some South Africans and migrants from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Pakistan and elsewhere.

"We are fed up with people bringing drugs to the youth and the crimes that go with it," said a South African marcher who declined to be named.

As the stand-off continued, Clement Melfort, 26, a migrant from Zimbabwe who had come to see the march told AFP: "We are not afraid of fighting."

President Jacob Zuma condemned the latest wave of xenophobic unrest, saying that there had been "threats of violence and acts of intimidation and destruction of property directed at non-nationals."

"Residents in some communities blame non-nationals for the escalating crimes especially drug trafficking," the presidency said in a statement on Friday.

Zuma called for South Africans not to blame migrants for the country's widespread crime problems, but said the government would crack down on drug-dealing and illegal immigrants.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Free young mother detained by immigration authorities for 15 months

Amnesty International USA is launching a campaign on 24th of February, 2017 urging Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release a 26-year-old woman on parole so she can obtain urgent medical treatment and be with her family. AIUSA is mobilizing its over 1.2 million U.S. members and supporters to call ICE and the Department of Homeland Security and demand that she be released while her request for asylum is reviewed.

Sara Beltran Hernandez fled gang violence and domestic violence in El Salvador to live with relatives in the U.S., and has been held in ICE detention for 15 months, despite having a claim to asylum. Under U.S. law and international law, people coming to the U.S. can seek asylum if they fear for their safety in their home country, and their human rights must be protected while their claims are being reviewed.

Sara collapsed in jail earlier this month and was denied contact with her legal team and family while in the hospital for days. Sara is now awaiting an appointment with neurosurgeon after being returned to a detention facility.

Sara should never have been detained this long to begin with, let alone locked up while suffering a serious medical emergency,” said Eric Ferrero, Amnesty International USA spokesperson.

“She must get the medical care she needs immediately, and be allowed to recover with her family while her asylum claim is reviewed.”

“In the face of President Trump’s aggressive immigration orders, we will fight to ensure that people with asylum claims are given a fair hearing and humane treatment. People like Sara who are seeking asylum for horrific violence should not be treated like criminals while their cases are processed. We must do everything we can to ensure protection for people who are fleeing violence.”

AIUSA sent a letter to DHS on Feb. 22 emphasizing that detention should only be used by immigration officials as a last resort, and parole should be granted to those who are suffering from medical emergencies and pose no flight risk. The letter says Sara fits these parameters and should be released from detention immediately.

(Source: AMNESTY international)

Vacancy: Director General/Chief Executive Officer needed by Ministry of Mineral Development

The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development is an agency set up to unlock the economic potentials of the solid minerals sub-sector in Nigeria...